In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, the General Services Administration initiated the formal transition process.
After two weeks of delaying a formal transition, the General Services Administration (GSA) has finally informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to bow out. In a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon, she asserted that the transition was delayed due to a "fear of favoritism," CNN reports. She clarified that she did not face any pressure from former President Donald Trump or his administration to delay the transition. Though Biden has not waited for the GSA's formal transition process to begin preparing for the Presidency, this is definitely a major step for his administration.
"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts," Murphy writes in her letter. "I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination." The letter has been considered the Administrator's "formal sign off" on Biden's victory, more than two weeks after he was declared the winner in the Presidential election. While normally considered a perfunctory process known as ascertainment, this has been a long-overdue moment.
Now, the transition may officially begin, and current administration agency officials can coordinate with the incoming Biden team. Additionally, the Biden administration will receive millions in government funding to conduct the transition. Until recently, the President-elect relied on individual donors to support the transition as he continued to announce several Cabinet picks. Biden's team is also no longer locked out from government data which previously meant they could not make contact with federal agencies. According to a Biden official, the most important and urgent need at the moment was for the transition to be given access to COVID-19 data and vaccine distribution plans.
Yohannes Abraham, executive director of Biden's transition, stated that the start of the transition was a "needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track." "This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies," they shared. "In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain [a] complete understanding of the Trump administration's efforts to hollow out government agencies."
The GSA's recognition of Biden's victory comes just as several more states certify his win and Trump's legal strategy "collapses." Murphy sent her ascertainment letter just after Michigan formally certified its election results and more Trump lawsuits claiming voter fraud were dismissed. Nonetheless, the former President has vowed to "keep up the fight." In a tweet, he thanked Murphy for sending the letter but added, "Our case strongly continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!"